Welcome to the first entry of our Stone in Your Home Series, which will be a collection of posts focused on equipping you with the information you need to make informed decisions when selecting natural stone for your home.
Today we’re focusing on the room where all the action is:
Nothing, in my opinion, says elegance quite like a kitchen featuring a large, glossy countertop and pristine textured floors. For many of us, the kitchen is the room that first comes to mind when one considers integrating natural stone into the home. That’s not a coincidence – of any room, the kitchen is both the most utilized and most visible. It’s usefulness doesn’t end at cooking dinner each night, but it is central when hosting parties or otherwise entertaining guests.
All of that action and attention makes it especially important to have all the information you can when selecting natural stone for your kitchen, and we’re here to help.
Type of Natural Stone for your Kitchen
Now, at the end of the day, selecting a stone that best fits the design aesthetic you envision for your home trumps all else.
If you’re after a feeling of extravagance, then you’re probably seeing polished marble in your mind’s eye.
If you’re looking for more of a rustic feel, then travertine or Saltillo tile may be more up your alley.
Whatever look you are going for, it is important to be conscientious of the challenges you will face along the way, but don’t be discouraged by those challenges!
Mindfulness will allow you to treat the stone you select with the tender loving care it deserves.
Imagine you decide you want a glistening, marble motif in your kitchen. As you make your decision, keep in mind that marble is a relatively soft stone. That means it is highly susceptible to etching, denting, chipping, and the like. A high polish is beautiful, but is also heightens the visibility of said marring, and is also easily stained, especially by high-acid liquids such as fruit juice, wine, and vinegar.
All this to say that the unseen cost of a highly polished marble floor or countertop is a high commitment to be gentle when using the space.
Using a proper cutting board is essential for any cooking. The truth is, even if you’re as diligent as you could possibly be, your counter will see wear and tear. This means constant upkeep with a neutral cleaner and annual check-ins with your trusted stone maintenance professional (wink-wink!).
If that all sounds like more work than you are bargaining for, but you’re unwilling to compromise, then consider a honed marble instead of a high polish. You’ll have more of a matte finish, but the wear and tear will be, although still present, significantly less noticeable.
Or think about granite as an elegant alternative to marble. Granite is a much harder stone than marble, and comparable in its extravagance. If a high level of durability is a priority, then granite might be for you.
On the other side of the spectrum, travertine and similar sedimentary stones are gorgeous options for a rustic feeling that doesn’t compromise elegance. I love these stones for their texture, which is something you don’t see as much in granite or marble. They tend to evoke feelings of ancient, Mediterranean villas because of their durability and longevity. And it’s true – they are very durable, and they are forgiving of little bits of etching and marring, which can add to the stone’s character. But they are also VERY porous.
The porosity of sedimentary stones makes them challenging to clean, and insufficient attention could lead to surfaces that look, well, filthy. Sedimentary stones are also extremely vulnerable to acids, be careful when handling liquids, citrus and produce on your counters.
The bottom line is that diligent upkeep is the name of the game with any natural stone surfaces, whether they be your kitchen or anywhere else in your home.
In your kitchen, you’re putting the integrity of that stone to the test, so be particularly thoughtful in your selection, and prepared to face the responsibility and maintenance that comes with ownership.
Do you have any questions that I didn’t address here? Or did you inherit a kitchen whose previous owner allowed their surfaces to fall into disrepair? Feel free to reach out and I’ll see how I can help, and if you’re in the Santa Barbara area, I hope you’ll think of us for your stone restoration needs.